Automata, Page Five
Page Five of Automata is here, followed by the final page (which we’re thinking of calling “Page Six”) on Monday.
Automata has a physical effect on me, like a premonition of danger, and even though I would describe the sensations as fundamentally unpleasant I have begun to crave them. In the life we have constructed, there is very, very little room for things like Carl Swangee, Detective Regal, or The Lookouts. I’m only thirty-three, though. And we won’t always have this life.
We were pleasantly surprised by the Batman: Arkham Asylum demo! I have helpfully included an exclamation point there to emphasize the full extent of our surprise. I’ve absorbed the marketing salvo for this title in its entirety, but extrapolating from such materials is a dubious affair, augury at best.
(To retain that metaphor, it’s not terribly incorrect to think of screens and video out of context as the entrails of a game, and our poking and prodding thereof as a kind of haruspicy. I included that word - and this entire section - to annoy Gabriel. Everyone else is free to go.)
Demo length is something that is starting to get a little out of control, or perhaps I should say that it is controlled too much, in that there’s almost no demo present these days. When I download a gigabyte of data, I’m looking for something more than what they’ve offered here. They introduce two strong concepts in the demo: smooth combat versus multiple opponents, and a kind of stealth game where you “hunt” a room from the shadows. At the end of the demo, they imply combat against a single opponent, but having experience with the other systems, I’m having a hard time imagining one-on-one combat as being a position of strength for them, and the demo ends at the very moment you could find out.
Optimally, a demo shows me how they are able to synthesize the concepts they present. The PC demo for Arkham Asylum is two Goddamned gigs, and I assume it delivers the same meager scraps. For someone as ravenous as I was, devouring every piece of existing content, maybe this fro-yo sample spoon is sufficient to inspire a purchase. For anyone else, I might wonder what they were afraid to show.
The first episode of Tales of Monkey Island is fucking sweet, and that’s about as robust as I’m interested in being. Brenna attended a parenting class where she was told that watching moving pictures “gave” kids ADD, so to this point a huge swath of what I get up to on a given day has been partitioned away from his experience. Not Tales, though. In the same way I might offer an illicit, unsanctioned treat - every father’s prerogative - my heir sits on my knee while we manage the challenges before us.
“Why is his name Guybrush?” he inquired. “He’s not a brush.”
“Indeed, my son,” I replied. “This is one of life’s great mysteries.”